Despite the economic downturn impeding growth in most European healthcare markets, the guidelines passed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2008, forecasts an ’electric’ future for spinal chord stimulators (SCS) in the United Kingdom. NICE recommends the use of SCS for patients experiencing chronic neuropathic pain for longer than six months in spite of using alternative pain management therapies. This recommendation paves the way for better patient access to SCS therapy. The National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales is directed to provide funds and resources for NICE-approved technologies, typically within three months of the publication date.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (medicaldevices.frost.com), Western European Pain Management Devices Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of over $801.2 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $1,379.1 million in 2015.
"In addition to the NICE guidelines that are set to support the growth of SCS, the advanced features of the rechargeable SCS are expected to drive long-term growth in the European pain management devices market," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Lizelle Wentzel. "Although rechargeable SCS is expensive, it reduces repetitive invasive surgery, has advanced features and will have diverse pain applications in the future."
SCS used for the management of migraine will become a popular trend boosting the growth of this market. It is estimated that 19 per cent of Europe’s population suffers from chronic pain. In the United Kingdom alone, there are 2,000 new cases of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) annually. SCS works by sending electric pulses to electrodes situated near the spinal cord. The electric pulses inhibit the pain messages sent to the brain and manage the continuous pain the patient is otherwise likely to experience.
The Western European pain management devices market is expected to grow exponentially in the long term. Pain management technologies offer several advantages such as the ability to apply pain medication locally compared to systemic administration. Technologies such as SCS are capable of treating chronic pain without using pharmaceuticals and, in the long term, such devices will be more cost effective with lower risks of side effects such as addiction to pharmaceuticals. Pain management devices that enable chronic pain sufferers to be mobile will also drive this market as SCS and fully implanted pumps have the advantage of patient mobility. Such trends will sustain long-term market growth.
However, there is low awareness about alternative treatment of pain, with knowledge about pain management varying across Western Europe. With different countries more receptive towards new technologies and also more informed, awareness – both among end users and patients – in this field is still the key challenge for manufacturers in this space.
"Devices used as an alternative to pharmaceuticals in the treatment of chronic pain are unknown to several end-users and, in certain geographical regions, medical professionals are less open to alternative technologies," explains Wentzel. "Future growth will depend on increased awareness among the main stakeholders in this market."
Pain management devices companies should collaborate with pharmaceutical companies on marketing efforts as the latter continue to dominate 90 per cent of the total pain management market.
"Awareness on the use of devices in combination with pharmaceuticals are crucial for market expansion," concludes Wentzel. "With pharmaceutical companies placing huge effort into marketing and relationships with KOLs, this strategy will benefit both parties in the long run."
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Western European Pain Management Devices Markets / M415